Lounging around a beer garden in the summertime, browsing through incredible churches, and let’s not forget the smells of roasted almonds and urban brass wafting down the cobblestone streets.
Munich may be a bit overlooked when compared to its northern neighbor, Berlin. However, this beautiful (albeit, eccentric) city is quickly becoming a popular stop among tourists.
If you’re into manmade and natural marvels, you’re in for a real treat with our insider’s guide to Munich!
Climb Up St. Peter’s Church
Munich is certainly beautiful on foot, but if you want one of the best views of the city, you need to head up high. St. Peter’s Church is one of the best places to accomplish exactly that. As the oldest church in the city, it’s certainly an important structure and is located right in the middle of Marienplatz or the main square.
The clock tower of the church stands almost 300 feet tall, and with a phenomenal 360-degree view of the city, there’s nothing quite like it. The platform is 184 feet high, and you’ll need to put in some steps to get there. Skip the Stairmaster for the day, because this is a great substitution for it!
After paying 5 EUR to access the tower, you’ll be ready to ascend. Pass the old historic bells of St. Peter, then arrive to the top where you’ll have views of all Munich’s beauty!
Pro Tip: The entrance to the stairs is actually at the rear of the church!
As we just mentioned, Marienplatz is the local town square, and is full of the most incredible architecture you could ever imagine. Having been the heart of Munich since 1158, it combines modern city technology with a rich cultural history.
In 1638, the city celebrated the end of Swedish occupation and dodging the Thirty Years War with a column topped by a gold statue of the Virgin Mary. The square then took no the name “Mary’s Square” or “Marienplatz”.
The New Town Hall or “Neues Rathaus” is right next to the column, and this enormous Gothic building is impossible to miss. The Frauenkirche is another beautiful gothic church, and at one time was even the burial place of the Wittelsbach royal family.
The “Devil’s Footstep” at the entrance is also worth seeing and hearing about the local legend surrounding it. There are also many more sights to see that are impossible to miss!
Okay, so Neuschwanstein castle isn’t located in Munich, but you can take some amazing tours from the city. The opportunity to see the real-life inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is an amazing motivator for getting out of the city and into the fairytale-like hills of Southern Germany.
With roundtrip transportation included, it’s the most convenient way to see Neuschwanstein. Learn how this stunning castle came to be, enjoy the enormous courtyard, and enjoy the gold statues and fountains. Some of the tours of Neuschwanstein castle even stop by Schloss Linderhof, modeled after the infamous Palace of Versailles in Paris.
Some also include lunch (or more meals), train rides, and VIP tours so you can skip the lines and get a customized experience designed around your party. It offers some excellent insight into Bavarian history, and is a wonderful way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Picnic at Olympic Park
Today, the Olympic Park offers relaxation, beautiful nature views, incredible events, and of course, the Olympic Stadium, Hall, and Tower. It was made specifically for the 1972 Summer Olympics, which were unfortunately overshadowed by the Munich massacre where 11 Israeli team members and a West German police officer were murdered by Black September members.
Despite its dark history, today, it’s a fantastic place to grab a coffee and walk around. If you’re feeling hungry, head on over to the Olympic Tower for a fantastic view of the city and enjoy a tasty meal at its rotating restaurant.
Any WWII buff or anyone interested in history will absolutely love visiting the Eagle’s Nest or Berchtesgaden. Nestled right into the Bavarian Alps, it’s actually been open for tourism since 1952 – not long after it was discovered by Allied troops at the end of the war.
It certainly is a breathtaking view from up here, and even if you aren’t particularly into history regarding the Third Reich, you’re sure to enjoy that aspect. With a Eagle’s Nest tour from Munich, you’ll learn how European royalty and high-profile government officials would make visits.
As one of the only remaining Nazi strongholds outside of Berlin, it is a very interesting place to explore.
Try Ice Cream at Der Verrückte Eismacher
You can get ice cream anywhere, so what’s the big deal about this little place? They serve flavors you can’t get anywhere else. They offer some of the weirdest ice cream flavors we’ve ever seen.
Forget mint chocolate chip and rocky road. They have flavors like Oktoberfest Beer, White Sausage, Pizza, Kebab, Bacon-Cannabis, and Strawberry Champagne. If you’re an adventurous eater or simply want to do something unique, this is the place.
This fantastically Baroque palace is located in the west side of Munich, with a frontage wider than the Palace of Versailles. Serving as a summer residence in 1662 to the birth of Max Emanuel, heir to the throne, it has quite the history behind it.
With a 200-hectare area, opulent décor, and an enormous garden, there’s a ton to see here. However, it’s not only the outdoor space that’s worth checking out. Both the interior and exterior are decorated with lavish rococo-baroque style that takes hours to explore.
The main building of the palace holds 3 interesting museums: the Marstall Museum, Porcelain Museum, and the Mensch und Natur Museum. The Great Hall is particularly impressive, complete with an enormous ceiling painting which depicts the Olympian heaven.
The English Garden
If you don’t feel like heading outside the city but still want some peace and quiet, we have the perfect place for you. Located smack dab in the middle of Munich, you’ll find the serene green space that is the English Garden.
Built in the 18th century, it is a massive 910 acres filled with miles upon miles of cycling and jogging trails. As one of the largest inner-city parks of the world (bigger than even Central Park in New York!), it truly is the lung of Munich.
So, why English? This just refers to the style of landscape made popular in England during the 18th and 19th centuries. If you would like to try a different form of exercise other than running or cycling, try renting a paddle boat or hit one of the four beer gardens inside!
Other notable features inside: the nude sunbathing lawn, Chinese Tower, Greek Temple, sheep, and Japanese Teahouse.
Visiting Munich and not visiting the Hofbräuhaus is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Dating back to 1589, this popular beer hall has become one of the most (if not the most) famous in the world.
In fact, it was that year that Duke William IV enacted the “Beer Purity Law” which states that no other ingredient shall be added to beer: just hops, barley, and water.
With guests like Lenin, Mozart, and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, it’s been a famed institution for over 100 years.
As soon as you step inside, it feels like a party. Servers wear traditional Bavarian dress, like Lederhosen, as a polka band churns out traditional drinking tunes. It’s perfect for socializing, drinking, and just having a good time. Their traditional German food is also pretty good!Depending on what time and day you go, it could be pretty crowded, however. Just be prepared if you go during the peak times to spend at least 20 minutes locating a spot.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t a beer fan or want to grab a bite to eat, you can still walk in and take pictures or use the bathroom in the back of the building.
This is one of those hidden gems that most people don’t even know you can enter! Moreover, it’s actually free to visit! All you need is to pass through a relatively airport-esque security check beforehand. As the seat of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, it sports absolutely beautiful, elaborate architecture inside and out.
Constructed in the late 1800s, it features a beautiful Neo-Baroque style with an iconic central glass dome. Many notorious court cases have occurred here, including the White Rose resistance group during WWII. Today, Room 253 is a memorial of the group’s members who were arrested by the Gestapo and executed.
This world-famous museum is known for how interactive it is, as well as its unique technology and massive exhibit options. The gas-tank-lid-shaped building houses some of the very first BMWs, as well as insane concept cars, and much more. It’s a fun trip for adults and children, alike – even if you don’t own a BMW.
The immense museum boasts 7 different exhibition houses for their permanent installments, alone. Their special exhibits cover even more ground, offering insight into the manufacturer’s century of building grade-A vehicles. You even get to enter the cars, explore them, and even take a test drive at their track!
If you’d like to take a break, they also have a tasty café and an upscale, Michelin-starred restaurant called EssZimmer by Käfer. Oh, and you get all that for free!
Watch an FC Bayern Munich Match
If you’re a soccer fan, you can’t miss going to an FC Bayern match at the Allianz Arena. Located just 10 km from the city center, it’s not difficult to access and is definitely an experience worth having. Heck, even if you aren’t a soccer fan, the entire experience may change your mind!
There is some serious loyalty here, and the team is quite popular, so be prepared for some noise! We thought the exterior of the arena was also quite cool, with its cloud-like puffy panels illuminated red or blue. You may see it lit up in the colors and designs of competitor teams at times, too.
Pro Tip: You can also see the Allianz Arena when there isn’t a match happening. You can take a tour of the arena to see what it’s like without people in the stands. This makes for a pretty cool photo op and allows for time to learn about the history of the team.
Enjoy a traditional Bavarian Breakfast
Traditionally, Munich breakfasts equal Weisswurst, or “white sausage”. Tehse thick, herby sausages are served with big, soft and warm pretzels, sweet mustard, and half a liter of wheat beer.
Drinking for breakfast?!
You got it! In fact, if you eat your sausages without being accompanied by beer, it may be a bit frowned upon by locals! Of course, there are plenty of alcohol-free options to choose from, as well.
The sausages become white because of the way they’re heated in water. They take them out when the water is just short of boiling, which turns them a whitish hue as no color-preserving nitrates or used in their preparation.